Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Tag Archives: Politics

Institutions and the Voices on the Periphery of Power

I am excited that a tactic currently being used by many social justice activists appears to be having some effect, at least in the short term, and that tactic is (of all things) mass calling legislators.  I have not seen that it is causing legislators to change their minds on Read more →

A Dream of Rationality

We have a dream in America of rationality. What I mean by that is that we have imbued our country with an ideal of rational discourse being the primary form of interaction between human beings. That if we can make the right argument, it will persuade people to our (meaning Read more →

The Consequences of Omniscience and Omnipotence

When I was at the U.S. Army Chaplain’s School at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, there was a day in class that we were responding to hypothetical counseling situations.  One of the scenarios presented to us was that of a young woman who came to us for counseling after having been Read more →

Free Speech, Responsibility, and Religious Violence

Freedom is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the United States, and perhaps in the world.  Be it Religious Freedom, or Freedom of Speech, or the Freedom of the Press, the Freedom of Association, or any of the common conceptions of freedom that we experience in the United States, Read more →

President Obama is Not a Liberal Socialist… I Am

I promised myself that I would not move into my “occasional political musings” this election season until after the conventions were over.  Well, the speeches in Charlotte and Tampa are done, and now I feel that there are some things that I have to say… President Obama is not a Read more →

American Exceptionalism and American Irrelevance

One of the genre’s of Science Fiction that I love is what is called “near future Sci-Fi”.  These are stories set to occur in the next 200 years or so.  What I love about them is that they “forecast” out not into some far off fantastic future, but into the Read more →

I’m Sick Unto Death of Hearing about Protecting the Religious Liberty of Military Chaplains

I remember something that my Drill Sergeant said to me, my first day of Basic Training some 20 years ago, when I was an 18 year old private at Ft. Leonard Wood Missouri.  We were all in one of our first formations, and he asked us if any of us Read more →

The Center of a Liberal Faith Movement

What it means to be a Unitarian Universalist has been on my heart this last week.  Not surprisingly, considering that many UU’s are currently thinking about similar things in reaction to the recent white paper from Rev. Peter Morales titled “Congregations and Beyond”.  I know there is a lot behind Read more →

War, Young Kids, and a Professional Military

Last week, a video surfaced on the internet that shows several young U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.  Immediately, there were calls for an investigation.  World leaders talked of their disgust.  U.S. Military leaders promised that they would get to the bottom of the Read more →

Kickoff

I love politics.  I love politics the way other people love football.  I watch 24 hour news channels in political seasons the way other people watch ESPN.  The minor of my Bachelor’s degree is in Political Science (Major in History), and I would describe my knowledge of practical politics by Read more →

Religion and the Four Great Fears

My dear friend, Chaplain the Rev. Seanan Holland visited us this weekend, and as usual he and I got into one of our hours-long rolling discussions about Life, the Universe, and Everything.  This time in particular, we were rolling around the origin and nature of religion, the fundamental flaw in Read more →

It’s Always an Oligarchy

In the last few months, I have heard the word Oligarchy being bandied around on the edges of American political circles.  In the Tea-Party wing, they are using it as a new word for “Hollywood Elite” and “Liberal Media”.  On the semi-far left it is being used to refer to Read more →

The Honor of Being on “Smiley and West”

This weekend I will be on a short segment of the Public Radio International program “Smiley and West” with Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West.  It was recorded today, to be aired this weekend.  It was an honor to have a letter I sent to the program selected for the Read more →

I’m a Liberal and I’m a Patriot who Loves God… Deal with It!

I think this topic is becoming a regular 4th of July weekend tradition of mine, mainly because I have had it with the idea that unless someone is a Fox News watching, gun toting Tea-Party Republican they are not a “Real American”.  Beyond the fact that such definitions of “Real Read more →

General Assembly Day 3: A Tale of Two GA’s…

I remember my first General Assembly many moons ago.  I was so excited for the opportunity for all the workshops I could ever dream of on every aspect of church life, of theology, and of our ecclesiological history.  I packed each moment full of engaging panel discussions, of plenary sessions, Read more →

Osama bin Laden and Unrealistic Hopes

These last few days, I have been on a trip to attend a U.S. Army Chaplains training conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I have been in hotels, airports, and restaurants in my military uniform, sometimes with other Army Chaplains, but often on my own.  For these several days, I have had Read more →

Is Libya a “Growing-Up Moment” for the United States?

For all our power in the world, the United States is still a very young nation. Unlike the modern states in Europe, in Asia, and in the Middle East, we do not stand upon thousands of years of history in the location where our nation is. Because of our youth Read more →

A Short “I Told You So”

I wish I could say I did not know this was going to happen.  I really wish I had been wrong.  I really wish that my theory that the power of Mass Protests to significantly affect political realities is expirational had been proven wrong.  I wish that mass protests still had the power Read more →

What Turned a Conservative into a Liberal?

I regularly have conversations with conservatives, both political and religious conservatives. Sometimes that is through my work as an Army Chaplain, sometimes through my work as a liberal minister in a fairly conservative town, and sometimes it is through people from my past who seek me out to ask me Read more →

Gun Control, Militias, and the Second Amendment

I have chosen never to carry or use a firearm ever again. I made that choice not because of a fundamentalist attitude toward guns, but rather because I am entirely too good with them. I reached a place in my faith journey where I realized that I would rather die Read more →

Just Go Home

I know, I get in trouble with someone when I delve into pure politics here at Celestial Lands. But I just can’t help myself. I’m not even completely serious about this one, because for the Democratic Leadership in the U.S. Senate and House to do what I am about to Read more →

The Journey from Conservative to Liberal

I remember a day in seventh grade when I came home all excited to tell my parents that I had discovered that I was a Liberal. We had been studying the American political system in social studies class, and in our textbook was a little box that showed the typical Read more →

Civilian Control and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Harass, Don’t Pursue

As a military chaplain, the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell” does not apply directly to how I relate to soldiers. Any soldier can tell me anything in confidence, and I am bound by a level of confidentiality that is equivalent to the seal of the Catholic Confessional. In Read more →

The Political Right and the Road to Damascus

I have spoken before about what I believe is happening on the far right of American politics today, and from the public and private responses I know it is one of the more controversial topics I engage here at Celestial Lands. I speak as someone who traveled in those far-right Read more →

Tofu Causes Dementia!

I don’t like tofu. I’ve tried to eat it and it actually makes me gag. When I was dating, I suffered through several tofu laden meals for a particular liberal-leaning young woman I was attempting to woo… until I realized that if it worked out I would have to eat Read more →

In Each Ending there is a Beginning

We have closed another year here at Celestial Lands, and I want to thank all of those who read and send me comments, both in public through the blog and in private through my email. I keep this website because it is important to me… it is a place for Read more →

The Dangers of a Culture of the Infamous and Stupidly Famous

If you want to become a “legend” in our current culture, there are several paths that one can follow. You can create a Youtube video of yourself doing something inherently stupid. You can go on a reality television show where you will be challenged to do stupid things on primetime, Read more →

Policy or Vision as the Mission of the Church?

Recently, in private conversation, on this blog, and among radio hosts I listen to, there has been conversation about why the liberal churches do not get involved in certain national policy issues… and each time I hear that call I cringe. Though I have friends in several of our UUA Read more →

The Political Assumptions of Progressivism

I have found that most of the people who identify as some kind of religious “progressive” have done at least some basic work around the worldview and assumptions that they are implying by linking their religious faith so clearly with the concept of progress. While it is not the kind Read more →

GOP in Search of Leadership?

I have been following with a gleam and an avid eye the quest for leadership for the Republican Party… and I have found my choice. The party need not look any further than Jonathan Krohn, a 13 year old conservative from Atlanta. Boy’s got mad skills. Krohn spoke this week Read more →

Foreign and Domestic

From the Huffington Post: Palin: First Amendment Rights Threatened By Criticism In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by “attacks” from reporters who suggest she is engaging in Read more →

Investigating Liberals for being Anti-American?

On the Sunday nearest 4th of July this year, I felt called to preach a sermon entitled “Being a Liberal Patriot”, on what I mean when I call myself a Liberal. I do not usually talk about my sermons on the Celestial Lands Blog, because the blog is my pre-writing Read more →

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